IFA National Dairy Chair Stephen Arthur said dairy farm families feel betrayed by Minister McConologue and this Government following the decision on the Nitrates derogation.
Stephen Arthur said “I have spoken to many dairy farmers since this was announced and a feeling of shock and betrayal is the mood out there. Most who are in derogation are farming small to average size farms and this is going to make many of them unviable unless they can find expensive land to rent, that they actually do not require other than for nitrates calculation purposes”.
“In the last 10 years, dairy farmers have followed Government policy and invested on their farms. Now a change in policy will leave a generation of family farms facing a serious threat to their viability,” he said.
“The lack of support from the Government is startling. Derogation farmers have had ever more stringent rules imposed on them over the last number of years, the latest being banding at the start of 2023. Instead of allowing time for the new measures to take effect and work with farmers on the journey to improving water quality, this blunt instrument is being imposed. There was no consultation when the Department of Agriculture agreed to this mid-term review and Teagasc have indicated it will result in negligible if any improvements for water,” Mr Arthur stated.
“Dairy farmers are now left with a large drop in their income due to changes forced upon them. No other sector in society would be asked to take a cut in their income such as this,” Stephen Arthur concluded.